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Old 11-05-2008, 07:14 AM   #1
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USA Not Free - Will The Courts Fix It?

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Reporting from Washington -- For the first time in 30 years, the Supreme Court took up the issue of indecency on television and radio broadcasts Tuesday, and its leading conservatives made clear they would like to uphold an official crackdown on the use of expletives during daytime and early evening hours.

U.S. Solicitor General Gregory G. Garre said the strict regulation of broadcast TV preserved it as a "safety zone" for families with children, particularly in an era of unrestrained free-speech rules on the Internet and on cable and satellite TV. "Broadcast TV is the one place where Americans can turn on the TV at 8 o'clock and . . . not expected to be bombarded with indecent language," he said.

He was defending a 4-year-old policy of the Federal Communication Commission to impose heavy fines on broadcasters who put on the air even a single expletive. He referred to the banned language as "the F-word" and "the S-word."

"The F-word is one of the most graphic, explicit and vulgar words in the English language for sexual activity," he said. Broadcasters can be fined more than $325,000 for a single utterance of the F-word, even if it is blurted out by a guest on a live program.

Last year, the TV networks won a ruling from the U.S. appeals court in New York that blocked the FCC policy from being enforced on the grounds it was arbitrary and possibly a 1st Amendment violation.

But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Antonin Scalia dominated Tuesday's argument and strongly supported the FCC.

Roberts, who has two young children, referred to the use of the F-word by rock singer Bono at the Golden Globe Awards and Cher at the Billboard Music Awards. "Here is an awards show. Here is a celebrity. I want to listen to what they are going to say because I listen to their music," the chief justice said, portraying himself as the parent with "impressionable children" in the audience. "And he comes out with that," he said, referring to an expletive.

Scalia said he understood that foul words would be heard at a football or baseball game. "You don't have to have them presented as something that is normal in polite company, which is what happens when it comes out in television shows," he told a lawyer for the broadcast networks.

Scalia blamed television for "coarsening" public discourse. "I am not persuaded by the argument that people are more accustomed to hearing these words than they were in the past," he added.

Still, the outcome was hard to forecast because several members of the court, including Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Anthony M. Kennedy, said little or nothing during the oral argument.

Representing the Fox TV network, Washington lawyer Carter G. Phillips urged the court to think twice before allowing the FCC policy to go into effect. "At the end of the day, you are regulating the content of the speech," he said.

The FCC has not explained its abrupt shift in the policy, he said, and it has been inconsistent in applying it. He also said broadcasters would be wary of airing live sports programs if an overheard expletive could result in a huge fine.

Despite earlier comments that he would be explicit, Phillips did not use the disputed words in the court on Tuesday.

In contrast to cable companies, traditional over-the-air broadcasters remain subject to regulation because they use the public airways.In their legal briefs, the broadcasters urged the court to rethink this doctrine.

But during Tuesday's argument, only Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested the court delve into the 1st Amendment issues that underlay this dispute.

It is "the big elephant in the room," she said.

One bright spot for the broadcasters was Justice John Paul Stevens. He wrote a 1978 decision upholding the FCC's indecency restrictions, but he said Tuesday that he was not convinced that every use of the forbidden words was offensive. Cher, for example, said on the award show that she had outlasted her critics. "So, F . . . 'em," she said.

What if a "particular remark was really hilarious, very funny? Would that cause the FCC to think twice about imposing a fine?" he asked Garre.

The solicitor general was unswayed. When "celebrities use particularly graphic, vulgar, explicit, indecent language as part of the comedic routine," he said, there is "potentially greater harmful impact on children."

Later, when Garre said the S-word must be banned because it refers to excretion, Stevens probed further. "Do you think the use of the word 'dung' would be indecent?" he asked. Probably not, Garre replied, because it "wouldn't be patently offensive under community standards for broadcasting."

The court could rule narrowly by focusing only on whether the FCC's change in policy is arbitrary. Or it could delve into the 1st Amendment standard for the broadcasting industry.

Fox TV took the lead in challenging the FCC because the network had broadcast several of the award programs.
High court conservatives favor indecency rule - Los Angeles Times

When the next justice shuffles off at least there should be a progressive appointee.
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Old 11-05-2008, 06:45 PM   #2
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USA not free?
Try China (and more than a few other countries) if we want to discuss the repression of free speech.

Is yelling "fire!" in a crowded hall, when the hall is not on fire, free speech?

Should young children be exposed to hearing words that if I typed them here, I think my post would be deleted?
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Old 11-05-2008, 06:50 PM   #3
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what's it gonna be: personal responsibility or a nanny state? let's make up our minds here folks!
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Old 11-05-2008, 06:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the iron horse View Post

Should young children be exposed to hearing words that if I typed them here, I think my post would be deleted?
Wouldn't a true libertarian believe that one should be able to say what they want, and that it's the responsibility of parents to shield their children from things they don't want them exposed to?
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Old 11-05-2008, 06:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the iron horse View Post

Should young children be exposed to hearing words that if I typed them here, I think my post would be deleted?
And here I thought you were a small government libertarian...

They're going to take your card away.
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Old 11-05-2008, 07:06 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by the iron horse View Post
if I typed them here, I think my post would be deleted?
That's not true.

Fuck.
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Old 11-05-2008, 07:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by VintagePunk View Post
Wouldn't a true libertarian believe that one should be able to say what they want, and that it's the responsibility of parents to shield their children from things they don't want them exposed to?

The Bill of Rights,in the first ammendment, grants you the freedom of speech.

As a libertraian I believe that with that freedom also comes responsibilty to be aware of who is hearing (or listening) to your speech.

We could fill this thread with all the four letter words and vulgar insults to the limit, but for what reason?

To shock who?

For what purpose?
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Old 11-05-2008, 07:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the iron horse View Post
The Bill of Rights,in the first ammendment, grants you the freedom of speech.

As a libertraian I believe that with that freedom also comes responsibilty to be aware of who is hearing (or listening) to your speech.

We could fill this thread with all the four letter words and vulgar insults to the limit, but for what reason?

To shock who?

For what purpose?
Thanks for responding.

Fair enough, I understand where you're going with this. You personally have the sense of awareness and responsibility. But do you expect everyone else to, as well? And should their personal limits be the same as yours? Where is the line drawn, and who gets to decide for everyone? Is that even fair, and is it really in keeping with libertarian ideals?
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Old 11-05-2008, 07:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by the iron horse View Post
As a libertraian I believe that with that freedom also comes responsibilty to be aware of who is hearing (or listening) to your speech.
No, you aren't doing this as a libertarian, you are doing it for yourself. Who are you going to choose who decides what words are bad? Why is this word bad and not this one? Did your mother tell you it was bad therefore it should be banned? Did your church tell you?

Where do you draw the line? What if one day you decide the word Republican or Democrat is a bad word?

This is why libertarianisn works well in theory, but not in practice.
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:04 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by VintagePunk View Post
Thanks for responding.

Fair enough, I understand where you're going with this. You personally have the sense of awareness and responsibility. But do you expect everyone else to, as well? And should their personal limits be the same as yours? Where is the line drawn, and who gets to decide for everyone? Is that even fair, and is it really in keeping with libertarian ideals?

That's a fair question VintagePunk.
And one, I admit, is a tough one for a libertarian to answer.

-Limited and smaller governement
-Less intervention in personal affairs
-Liberty
-Freedom of choice
-And all the others as stated in the Bill of Rights


I guess, my answer is a desire for all of us to be more aware of our freedoms and with that, our responsibilty to exercise that freedom
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:07 PM   #11
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Wouldn't a true libertarian believe that one should be able to say what they want, and that it's the responsibility of parents to shield their children from things they don't want them exposed to?
Most Americans are not "true libertarians." They're really what one would define as "paleolibertarians," who are mostly in it for the low taxes and limited government, as far as it means leaving themselves alone (but they can go after "other people," of course).

Really, I feel it's best described as organized self-centeredness, unburdened by conscience or consistency.
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:17 PM   #12
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Most Americans are not "true libertarians." They're really what one would define as "paleolibertarians," who are mostly in it for the low taxes and limited government, as far as it means leaving themselves alone (but they can go after "other people," of course).

Really, I feel it's best described as organized self-centeredness, unburdened by conscience or consistency.
Right.

So are there any reasons to be sceptical of state authority?
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:20 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by the iron horse View Post
That's a fair question VintagePunk.
And one, I admit, is a tough one for a libertarian to answer.

-Limited and smaller governement
-Less intervention in personal affairs
-Liberty
-Freedom of choice
-And all the others as stated in the Bill of Rights


I guess, my answer is a desire for all of us to be more aware of our freedoms and with that, our responsibilty to exercise that freedom

Indeed, it's pretty simple, when it comes down to it.

What I don't get is why more voters don't subscribe to this. I cannot get my head around it.

Why do most voters vote for parties which do the complete and diametric opposite of every single thing on your list? Are they afraid of more freedom, is that it? And if so, why is that?
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by BonoVoxSupastar View Post
No, you aren't doing this as a libertarian, you are doing it for yourself. Who are you going to choose who decides what words are bad? Why is this word bad and not this one? Did your mother tell you it was bad therefore it should be banned? Did your church tell you?

Where do you draw the line? What if one day you decide the word Republican or Democrat is a bad word?

This is why libertarianisn works well in theory, but not in practice.
And you think it's better for the government to decide all this?
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:22 PM   #15
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Right.

So are there any reasons to be sceptical of state authority?
A complete non sequitor. I have issues with self-described "libertarians" who do not put sufficient value on positive rights, which is why I consider paleolibertarianism to not be truly "libertarian" at all. By definition, libertarianism must be both economically liberal and socially liberal. To support economic liberalism and be socially conservative is to be a modern-day conservative. Period.
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